From a young age Kamilla Varga knew she wanted to work in the creative. She spent much of her early years taking photos of her friends and manipulating them, all because she loved the process. Then, in her university years she found her true passion: collaging. It all started with a pair of scissors, some magazines, and a clear nail polish. Little did she know this would be her career one day.
Kamilla’s art is edgy, yet filled with raw emotions that reflect on her thoughts and dreams. Pop culture and feminism are dominant themes of her work. Her dedication to celebrating strong and powerful women is obvious when you scroll through her feed.
Much like the objects of her work, Kamilla rejects traditional rules, always mixing unrelated elements to create recognizable, yet never-seen-before realities and perspectives. The worlds she creates through her art are playful and multi-dimensional, making her work stand out not just for the visual appeal they have, but for the powerful messages they reflect.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where did you grow up? How did you get started doing what you do?
I grew up in a small town in Hungary and I always knew I wanted to work in the creative field. Back in high school, I spent a lot of time taking photos of my friends and then manipulating their photos. To be honest I had no idea what I was doing, but I loved the process. After high school, I decided to move to Budapest to study photography.
I discovered the collage technique when I was 19. After doing some research, I grabbed a pair of scissors, a few magazines, and a clear nail polish (used as glue) and created my first analog collage. Then in 2016, I decided to share my work with the world and created an Instagram account.
Describe your art in 3 words.
Filled with emotions.
Can you describe your creative process? Where do you start? What do you usually have on or around you?
My main sources of inspiration are my emotions, thoughts, dreams, music, experiences, and real-life events.
I almost always have music on and a piece of paper around me to write down my ideas and thoughts. I look through those notes while listening to music to gather some inspiration. Most of the time it works, but there are days when I just can’t make anything that I like. That’s when I know I have to go for a walk or do something that takes my mind away from the need to create.
How has your style or techniques you use changed throughout the years?
At first, I only created analog collages. Later on, I started to experiment with Photoshop and discovered all the possibilities it offers.
In school, we were taught how to make things “perfect” with Photoshop. To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy those classes. I prefer when things don’t look natural, or perfect per-say, and have a little edge instead.
Right now, 90% of the collages I post are digital. I do plan however to go back to handmade pieces and include some paintings, pressed flowers, and other elements to spice things up.
Pop culture and feminism are dominant themes of your work. Why do you keep revisiting these topics?
I always felt that as a woman I have to act, look, dress, or speak a certain way; a way that is generally accepted by society. If I don’t, people would shame me or tell me that real women don’t act that way.
I know now that I don’t have to feel bad or apologize for being my true and authentic self. It took me a few years to realize that it does not matter what other people think or say. What matters most is that we are proud of what we are becoming, what we achieve, and to love ourselves despite what others think.
My goal is to celebrate women with my art.
I want to celebrate women who are not afraid to share their true stories and true selves, women who don’t want to fit in, women who are not afraid to speak their minds, strong enough to hug their insecurities.
What is it that keeps you collaging? What excites you about it?
What excites me most, is that I can use my emotions and experiences to create something with a message. Through my work, I can get people who can feel what I feel without having to explain myself in long sentences. I love how limitless collaging is and that there are no rules. Also, if something, like a small detail, doesn’t fit or doesn’t feel right, you simply remove it and try to find something better or just leave it as is. Just like in real life.
Can you tell us a little bit about your favourite project, and why it’s your fave?
I have waited so long to do what I love and call it my job. I feel thankful because I am blessed with such lovely projects.
I have been lucky enough to be working with Swapaholic. Swapaholic is a clothing and accessory swap that helps declutter and refresh closets without hurting our planet. To be a part of something that benefits our planet is a wonderful feeling, as I am also trying to live a sustainable life.
I also really enjoy personal commissions as they make the clients happy and feeling like queens covered in flowers. Another exciting part is when musicians/singers commission me for albums or single covers, as music is such a huge inspiration for me. I have always dreamed of working with artists.
Are there any artists, designers, or illustrators that you are loving at the moment?
Instagram is an important marketing tool for creatives these days. Do you find yourself curating your art based on what your followers want to see? How do you find a balance between what’s trendy and what you want to work on?
I do not follow trends. They come and go.
I feel like I would lose my credibility if I only posted stuff for likes and follows and because that particular style was trendy. I just go with my creative flow but I always like to include something new (elements, colours) in my collages to keep things interesting.
The theme or message of my art is based on my personal experiences and feelings. I have a notebook filled with ideas/feelings that I write down during the day and I use those when I want to make a collage for my feed. When I am looking for ideas I try to think of feelings and everyday situations that people can relate to and use them as inspiration.